To survive autonomously, every single human being must control their movements in a highly flexible and adaptive manner. The overall goal of our lab is to understand the principles underlying flexible sensorimotor function.
A necessary step for achieving this goal is to build a better picture of the sensory information available to the nervous system. The signals of human muscle spindles are of particular interest to our lab. The muscle spindle is the most complex sensory organ outside of the special senses, with its own efferent innervation.
The aims of our current research include (i) determining the impact of fusimotor control on spindle output across fundamental sensorimotor contexts, and (ii) revealing the advantages afforded by spindle control for sensorimotor performance. To achieve the above we use several neurophysiological techniques, including microneurography to record from single mechanoreceptor afferents of humans performing voluntary movements in fundamental sensorimotor contexts. A bimanual robotic manipulandum fitted with gaze-tracking and a virtual reality interface is used for investigating behavioral implications of the neural findings, such as in terms of reflex motor behavior and proprioceptive acuity.
Dimitriou M (2022) Human muscle spindles are wired to function as controllable signal-processing devices. eLife, 11, e78091
Papaioannou S & Dimitriou M (2021) Goal-dependent tuning of muscle spindle receptors during movement preparation. Science Advances, 7, eabe0401
Dimitriou M (2018) Task-dependent modulation of spinal and transcortical stretch reflexes linked to motor learning rate. Behavioural Neuroscience, 132, 194-209
Dimitriou M (2016) Enhanced muscle afferent signals during motor learning in humans. Current Biology, 26, 1062-1068
Dimitriou M (2014) Human muscle spindle sensitivity reflects the balance of activity between antagonistic muscles. Journal of Neuroscience, 34, 13644-13655